News Local/State

Filmmaker Spike Lee To Attend Ebertfest


The lineup for the 16th annual ‘Ebertfest’ continues to grow.  

As part of the 25th anniversary of his film, ‘Do The Right Thing’ writer/director Spike Lee will accompany the 1989 comedy-drama about race relations in an African-American Brooklyn neighborhood.

In his review of Lee’s film, the late film critic and Urbana native Roger Ebert praised the filmmaker’s handling of racial themes:  “Only a few penetrate your soul.  In May of 1989 I walked out of the screening at the Cannes Film Festival with tears in my eyes."

"Spike Lee had done an almost impossible thing.  He’d made a movie about race in America that empathized with all the participants.  He didn’t draw lines or take sides but simply looked with sadness at one racial flashpoint that stood for many others.”

Lee joins previously announced directors Steve James, who will open the festival with his documentary ‘Life Itself’ about Ebert, Oliver Stone, attending the festival with his Vietnam war drama ‘Born on the Fourth of July’ with Tom Cruise, and comedian/actor Patton Oswalt, attending with the dark comedy ‘Young Adult,’ in which he appeared with Charlize Theron.

The annual film festival runs April 23-27 at Champaign’s Virginia Theatre.